Original Name Proposal Submitted by Barbara Chapman in 2009
an in-depth history of one village in Hertfordshire UK.
This page was last updated on: June 1, 2019

The new Benefice of Langelei, (a Team Ministry), was formally created on 1 October 2009. It comprised those parishes which were in the team Parish of Chambersbury, i.e. Holy Trinity Leverstock Green; St. Benedicts, Bennetts End; and St. Mary’s Apsley End, plus the parish of All Saints Kings Langley. 

To quote from the first Benefice newsletter: “Each Parish has its own Parochial Church Council (PCC) responsible for managing its own local affairs, and the Team Council is responsible for oversight of the whole benefice, determining policies on mission, ministry and pastoral care.”

Creating the Benefice had been on the agenda for some years, but (and again to quote from the first newsletter) “ offers the churches the huge opportunity of working collaboratively, harnessing the considerable resources at the disposal of all the churches.”

Before the benefice could be formally instituted, it would need a new name. A meeting was called with at least two representatives from each of the four churches, plus any other church members who wished to express an interest. This was held at St. Mary’s in April 2009. As both local historian, and Archivist for Holy Trinity I attended this meeting. I had previously given the naming of the new Benefice considerable thought, and came up with two suggestions, based on the same premise i.e. KINGS ABBEY and LANGELEI, submitting “Kings Abbey” to the meeting (click here see a copy of the sheet I submitted at the time), but also suggesting Langelei as an alternative as the discussion progressed.

Studying Leverstock Green’s history had meant I had to also study the area around our village, not least because the Parish of Leverstock Green had been formed from parts removed from three other parishes: Hemel Hempstead, St. Michael’s St. Albans, and St. Lawrence, Abbots Langley. Prior to the early 19th century all official records, including Births, Marriages and Deaths, as well as the National Census, were referred to as being part of their parish. This meant that any research I or anyone else undertook tracing families, buildings, farms etc. in Leverstock Green, involved the records of three separate parishes, rather than just the one. In addition to that, as time progressed the Parish of Leverstock Green’s boundaries were changed, with Nash Mills and much of St. Mary’s being drawn into the parish of Leverstock Green (while the remaining part of these parishes becoming part of the parish of St. John’s Boxmoor).

I knew from my earlier studies, that at the time of the Doomsday Census, although Leverstock Green and Apsley End did not exist under that name, over ¾ of the area of Leverstock Green was within the parish of Abotts Langley. The 11th century Medieval  Parish ( as shown in the Doomsday Book), – a large long narrow parish, was LANGELEI (meaning Long Meadow) and was later (13th century) split into the two parishes of Kings Langley and Abbots Langley. 

St. Mary’s Apsley, was within the Medieval Parish of Kings Langley, and had been created from a largish slice of the 1850 Parish of Leverstock Green. Therefore a very large part of the new Benefice would actually coincide with the Doomsday Parish of Langelei. The two medieval parishes would have covered all of today’s Apsley and Kings Langley, and a large proportion of Bennetts End and Leverstock Green.   

Altogether there were about nine suggestions for the name of the new Benefice, and therefore it was not surprising that whittling down the suggestions to one which everyone could agree, took well over two hours of discussion and prayer. In the end the name of Langelei was agreed by everyone at the meeting to not only be the most appropriate; its meaning “Long Meadow”, as referred to in the current Langelei website as “ to describe our location, roughly in a triangle between Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans”; and in the website for St. Mary’s in 2011, it was described as “ Langelei (long meadow) was chosen to describe the valley flowing southwest from Hemel to Include Kings Langley, which had at that point recently joined the team”  were only part of the reasons why Langelei was chosen in the end.

It was as I recall, and expressed by several of members at the meeting that, "we were being led by God" to accept the name Langelei, as it was taking the parishes back to its original routes as a single parish.  It was also a name which didn’t immediately suggest the precedence of any one of the constituent four parishes. 

 I have to admit that I feel very proud that it was my research and initial suggestion which ultimately led to the name of the new Benefice.           Barbara Chapman 26 May 2019

This map was copied on-line from the very first issue of the Benefice of Langelei website.

The name should primarily reflect the historic importance of the parish of Kings Langley 11th/14th centuries (the other parishes being new parishes dating from the mid 19th century)
The name should as far as possible reflect something of the history of the development of the 4 parishes and the related history/geography
The name should be dignified and not patently “invented” or artificial.

Could well be acceptable, not just to the Kings Langley Community, but to the rest of the current parish of Chambersbury.

As a local historian, I carefully considered the history of the development of the parishes, and the historical geography of the area, and felt that KINGS ABBOTS would reflect this in many ways. To have tried and incorporated ALL the various components of the parishes since 1850 would have been impossible. So my detailed reasoning for the name was as follows:

Kings Langley & Abbots Langley were once (11th century) one parish called Langelei. Most of the new benefice was within this Norman parish, so a new combination of the names used from the 14th century onwards seems appropriate.
Chambersbury as a parish was not created until 1980, and Leverstock Green & Apsley End were not originally created as parishes until 1850, 1872or3 (even the Victoria County History is divided on this!), & Bennetts End was developed as part of Hemel Hempstead New Town. Therefore Kings Langley Parish should take precedence and be reflected within the name.
When Leverstock Green Church was built in 1849, and created as a parish in 1850 it incorporated parts of the original parishes of Abbots Langley, St. Michael’s St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead. It was originally a very large parish and included virtually the entire present parish of Chambersbury, including the area of Apsley.
The original sub-manor of Chambersbury was within the parish of Abbots Langley. (see my webpage )
JD purchased the Chambersbury sub manor/estate and built Abbots Hill. The Abbots Hill estate was virtually synonymous with the Chambersbury estate. 
​•When Apsley End was created in 1872/3 (the Victoria County History (original book version 1908, and the current on-line version ( don’t agree 100% either on the date or the constituent parts, the original (and I believe more reliable) stated the new chapelry of Apsley End was created from parts of the parishes of Kings Langley, Leverstock Green & Boxmoor in 1872 – the current on-line edition appears to have reverted to the original medieval parishes and states it was created from Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley & Abbots Langley. In any case it was the Abbots Langley part of Leverstock Green which was incorporated into the new Apsley End.
To try and include all the relevant addition constituent parishes of Leverstock Green/Chambersbury, including Hemel Hempstead & St Michaels, and also Boxmoor into the name would be somewhat forced, and I didn’t feel would work. Neither would incorporating Bennetts End in any way.
John Evans, who was the first churchwarden at both Leverstock Green & Apsley End churches, and was buried at Abbots Langley Church, along with his wives and son Arthur. He & his first wife Harriet Dickinson were married at Abbots Langley Church (at the time it being the parish church for Abbots Hill/Nash Mills where Harriet resided). They lived in Chambersbury when they were first married, as this belonged to Harriet’s father John Dickinson and was part of his Abbots Hill Estate. The name Abbots Hill itself being derived from the parish in which it was built. So the word Abbots links not only the parishes and the manors, but also is linked to the industrial heritage of the area.
John Dickinson, although buried in Kensal Green cemetery, has a memorial window in St. Lawrence’s Abbots Langley. St L was his parish church, and until the creation of Apsley End the various factories were within Abbots Langley parish.  
The name just sounded right and not too contrived to me!
                                                                                      Barbara Chapman  April 2009  
P.S. The Doomsday Parish name of Langelei would also fit the bill.

CLICK PHOTO - to go to details of Lizzie's Investiture. 
St. Cecilia's Day 22 November 2018
GALLERY OF PHOTOS by (Please contact me if you took these photos so I can acknowledge you.)
Click on first photo in each line, then navigate to the end.  Start on next line etc.
Revd. Simon Cutmore.9 December 2003 - May 2011

Rector with responsibility for Holy Trinity: Rev. Lizzie Hood.  February 2012 ~ present

For further information concerning the Benifice of Langelei, its churches, clergy and activities, please visit the Benifice website at